The Gospel Call to Adoption

As you may have heard, November is National Adoption month. November 21 is National Adoption Day! While adoption is near to our hearts here at New Life, salvation through faith in Jesus is our greatest mission for those we serve.

One of our adoptive dads had the opportunity to preach at his church about adoption on Orphan Sunday (November 8), and we asked him to be a guest blogger. Please see the short video about New Life and this family’s journey here.

Adoption of children is such a clear picture of our adoption as sons and daughters of God!

I am often asked why my wife, Haley, and I chose to adopt our 4th child. As a Christian, I can’t answer this question without going back to the good news of how we were first adopted by our Heavenly Father. While adoption is certainly about a horizontal relationship between a set of parents and a child in need, we must FIRST understand the vertical relationship we have with the King of the universe. Because we have been cared for by our loving Heavenly Father, we respond by caring for widows and orphans.

Check out Ephesians 1:3-14. Here I found 2 things: Adoption is Identity Changing and Adoption is Costly.

Adoption is Identity Changing

In these 12 verses, the Apostle Paul uses the phrase “In Him” or another reference to being “in Christ” 10 times! He repeatedly reminds us that our entire identity is wrapped up in Christ. Being a Christian means our identity has completely changed. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

According to verse 3, if you are in Christ, the God of the universe…the one who calls the stars by name, who caused the mountains to rise out of the earth and the waves to crash onto the shore… has declared you to have the identity of one who has been blessed with every spiritual blessing…because you are IN CHRIST!

In fact, verses 4 and 5 tell us that God chose us in Christ before the world was ever formed and that He predestined us to be adopted as his sons. So, think about this…before God created anything, He knew you, he desired you, and he had an adoptive plan in place to rescue you and call you His son or daughter through Jesus Christ. If you are His, you have been given the nature of Christ! Is that not incredible?!?! Despite your former wickedness and sinful rebellion against Him, all that God the Father sees when he looks at you and me, is His child. Amazingly, He doesn’t just love you; He adopted you. He looked at you and said “That one’s mine!”

Verses 5 and 6 also show us that God adopted us for HIS pleasure and for HIS praise! Our adoption was about Him! When we realize who God is, who we are, and that HE chose US, our only response is to worship Him — and not out of duty — we praise God because we are his adopted and dearly loved children!

Have you ever considered that the God who deserves all glory and praise initiated our adoption? In fact, isn’t adoption always initiated by the adopter?

But our initiating the process simply mirrors the fact that God initiated the process of adopting us. 1 John 4:19 says, “we love because he first loved us.” So, in the same way as Christians, we adopt because he first adopted us. It’s always about the vertical relationship before the horizontal relationship.

What an awesome identity we’ve been given in Christ!

Adoption is Costly

What did our adoption cost God?

As we know, the penalty for our sins was punishable by separation from the creator of the universe. But being rich in mercy, God paid the debt we owed by giving up the most precious thing he could ever give…His only Son. As verse 7 shows us, God declared us redeemed and forgiven when he adopted us.

In allowing Christ to die, God was adopting for himself all those who would be called his children. This is what verse 9 means when it says that it was according to his good pleasure that he made known to us the mystery of his will. Brothers and sisters, your adoption brought God pleasure!

Verses 11 and 12 show us that Jesus has also agreed to share His inheritance with us. Because we are in Christ, he’s allowed us to have access to everything that’s His. He didn’t have to leave heaven to come and die for us. But he DID! And now WE HAVE RECEIVED an inheritance. Isn’t that awesome?!?! All that is his is also ours…right now.

But while we wait for Christ’s return, let’s take confidence that He has sealed his adopted children with the Holy Spirit as verses 13 and 14 show us.

So What???

If we believe that God has given us a new identity when He paid the price for our adoption, then this should bring about a response in us. But what? Your story doesn’t have to be the same as mine, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ doesn’t give us the ability to ignore God’s heart for widows and orphans. You can’t sit on the sideline on this topic and act like it’s not a primary concern of His.

Let me give you just a few stats on abortion and adoption so you can see just how significant this problem is:
• 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned
• 2% of unplanned pregnancies result in adoption. 50% end in abortion, and 48% will be parented
• 24% of American women will have an abortion by the age of 45
• Over 850,000 abortions occur annually in America
• 55,000 of those are in Texas – 150 per day
• 15,000 of those are in Harris County – 41 per day
• Harris County leads Texas in abortions: One quarter of the state’s abortions occur in Harris County
• Each year, 20% of the pregnancies in Harris County end in abortion

If God has adopted you as His son or daughter, I want you to feel the weight of God’s heart for adoption. He gave up his only Son to adopt you! And now, he’s offering you the opportunity as his disciple to join him in celebrating the things he celebrates. So how do you do that? How do we take Ephesians 1 and apply it to the very real orphan crisis we face in our world today?

We Pray. We Obey. We Give.

The first thing we do is We Pray. If you’ve never understood that God has invited you to be adopted as His son or daughter because Christ died and rose again for you, today is the day to cry out to Him in prayer and ask Him to save you…AND HE WILL!

If you are already In Christ, pray and ask God to show you how you and your family can get involved in caring for widows and orphans.

Secondly, We Obey. As the Lord places a desire on your heart, respond in obedience. Whatever that looks like for you and your family…obey. It may mean grabbing your spouse and starting the conversation about whether adopting or fostering is in your future. It may mean starting an adoption fund that requires you to make other sacrifices.

But what if you aren’t called to bring a child into your home through adoption or foster care? Does that mean you are off the hook? Absolutely not! You aren’t exempt…you still have to ask God what He wants you to do…and then you have to obey.

Finally, after we’ve prayed, and we’ve decided to obey what God’s asked us to do…We Give.

You have money, time, and talents that God has given you. Ask God to show you how you can use those things for the care of orphans….and then GIVE! If you need some ideas, here’s a short list:

• Help someone fund an adoption
• Provide a meal for a family who just received a child
• Donate your time, talents, and resources to a pregnancy center, a maternity home, or a home for kids who’ve aged out of foster care
• Check in on a family who has received a child
• Become certified to provide respite care for a foster family or offer to babysit for a family that has adopted
• Become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) who is legally appointed to look out for the interests of children in foster care
• Get involved with an orphan care ministry in your church
• You know what talents God has given you…get creative and use them!

Regardless of what God asks you to do, I pray that you will celebrate the new identity you’ve been given as an adopted child of God. He paid the ultimate price for you, and he’s inviting you to join Him in caring for orphans. It’s a crazy journey, but it is definitely worth it!

— Brad Smith